Drumbeat: March 15, 2009

BP, other oil firms to take on added debt as revenues fall

The world's third-largest oil company [BP], behind Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, has reduced its production forecast for the next several years and is reviewing its degree of investment in major projects around the world.

Because of lower oil revenues, all oil firms will need to assume increased debt in coming years to cover their dividends, capital spending and exploration costs, BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward has warned. Natural gas prices also have weakened.

Hayward estimates oil prices must reach $50 a barrel to cover this year's dividend and $60 to cover the dividend and investment in projects.

BP will continue to pay a dividend, Hayward has said. Although the firm has a large cash cushion from years of profitability, some analysts question his decision.

UPDATE 1-Kuwait says to drop $15 bln oil refinery plan-paper

Kuwait's government will cancel a $15 billion oil refinery project, which met opposition in parliament, in its weekly meeting on Monday, the country's prime minister said in remarks published on Sunday. . .

In December, Kuwait scrapped a $17 billion joint-venture with U.S. firm Dow Chemical (DOW.N) just a month after signing the deal saying it was no longer viable in light of the global crisis after parliament opposed the deal.

OPEC to keep production levels steady

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said Sunday it will leave oil-output levels unchanged and will fully comply with production targets the group agreed to late last year. . .

The oil cartel said it will meet again on May 28 and Sept. 9 in Vienna to reassess output. OPEC President and Angolan oil minister Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos hinted that more tightening may be considered at the group's meeting in May, according to reports.

Russia to cut oil exports, raise domestic consumption - Sechin

Russia will cut oil exports and increase domestic oil consumption in a bid to stabilize world oil prices amid the ongoing financial crisis, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said on Sunday.

"We will be cutting oil exports through the expansion of domestic consumption. In particular, we plan to transfer 2 million tons of fuel to agricultural producers and also increase oil refining inside the country," Sechin said.

Nuclear waste: No solution yet, but expansion continues

The industry, including Georgia Power’s nuclear affiliate, Southern Nuclear, says Yucca’s demise shouldn’t affect plans to build new reactors. . .

A new round of Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing hearings on its reactor plans begins this week in Augusta and Waynesboro, but the spent-fuel disposal issue will not come up.

Opponents can’t raise it, because of a rule the NRC first made in 1984. Called the waste confidence rule, it says the NRC has confidence that a permanent nuclear disposal site would exist by 2025 and that on-site storage will be sufficient in the interim.

But the NRC is considering removing the 2025 date, although it is still expressing confidence a permanent solution will emerge.

As Oil and Gas Prices Plunge, Drilling Frenzy Ends

One reason companies need to make cuts is that the cost of drilling and servicing operations, while falling, is still roughly double the 2005 level, while the prices oil and gas companies earn from their production are suddenly below the 2005 level. Meanwhile, the cost of borrowing money for exploration and production has soared recently in the credit crisis.

“When everybody sobers up after the first quarter and sees what their real cash flow is going to be,” said G. Steven Farris, chairman and chief executive of the energy company Apache, “people are going to be very discouraged about how much capital they have to spend and that will depress the rig count even further.”

Seattle council poised to approve rooftop wind-energy generators

The Seattle City Council is poised to approve small wind-energy generators atop town houses, apartments, condos and commercial buildings.

The devices, which are sustainable, clean and can be cheaper than solar panels, have been installed across the country in the past few years: at the Boston airport, a Texas Air Force base, a potato-chip factory in Wisconsin — even on Jay Leno's private garage.

On Monday, the Seattle City Council will consider allowing windmills 15 feet above the height limit on commercial buildings. Later this spring, the council will consider allowing 10-foot-tall windmills on multifamily homes.

Drop in cost of refining jet fuel is huge boost to airlines

Last year, the cost of refining jet fuel added about $25.50 to the price of a barrel of crude oil, on average. So if oil cost $100 per barrel, the same amount of jet fuel would cost $125.50.

But the difference between the cost of a barrel of oil and a barrel of jet fuel — dubbed the "crack spread" in industry jargon — has dropped substantially since the end of the year. According to a report by FTN Equity Capital Markets, the spread averaged $21 in January and $15 in February.

It dropped even further this month, and Tuesday, the most recent date available, it fell to just $4 per barrel.

"The crack spread has cracked," declared FTN airline analyst Michael Derchin.

PetroChina, Venezuela to Build Guangdong Oil Refinery (Update1)

PetroChina Co. and Venezuela will build a refinery in Guangdong province that will rival the biggest Chinese oil-processing plant by capacity as the two nations reinforce their energy ties.

PetroChina, the country’s largest oil company, will “further realize” the agreements with Venezuela on the 400,000 barrel-a-day refinery when energy officials from the South American nation visit Beijing this month, Chairman Jiang Jiemin told reporters today. The capacity will match the size of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.’s plant in Zhejiang province.

Venezuela, the world’s fifth-biggest oil exporter, and China plan to boost oil production from their joint ventures in the South American nation by more than 10-fold in the next six years to 1 million barrels a day.

Iran signs $3.2-billion natural gas deal with China

China will help in the exploration of the offshore South Pars field, believed to be part of the world's largest natural gas reservoir. The deals points to the limitations of U.S. sanctions.

Under the three-year deal, China will help develop the South Pars field, a sprawling cavity beneath the Persian Gulf seabed that is part of what geologists describe as the world's largest natural gas reservoir.

Pushing the Gas Pedal: Tehran Makes NGVs Top Priority

Iran is aggressively tackling pollution, costly fuel import dependence and international political pressure by increasing its fleet of natural gas-fueled vehicles (NGVs). In less than two years, the number of cars able to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) has increased more than five-fold, a move that has allowed it to replace about 10% of its aging fuel-guzzling vehicle fleet.

But the government, which owns huge stakes in the country’s auto industry, is not stopping there. It has told manufacturers that at least 40 percent of the vehicles made every year must be NGVs. Service stations with natural gas refueling capability are spreading rapidly and mass transportation is being transformed at a record speed.

North Shore railroad finds upside to down economy

"With the economic slowdown, a lot of coal trains across the country are parking," said Karen Kollman, director of fuels management for Wisconsin Public Service.

Power demand lower than usual this year, Kollman said, as numerous industries dial back their operations in response to cautious consumer spending. As more coal cars are taken off the tracks, it reduces rail system congestion and further lessens the need for coal cars, she said.

The Next Really Cool Thing (Tom Friedman)

Once the lab proves that it can get energy gain from this laser-driven process, the next step (if it can secure government and private funding) would be to set up a pilot fusion energy power plant that would prove that any local power utility could have its own miniature sun — on a commercial basis. A pilot would cost about $10 billion — the same as a new nuclear power plant.

I don’t know if they can pull this off; some scientists are skeptical. Laboratory-scale nuclear fusion and energy gain is really hard. But here’s what I do know: President Obama’s stimulus package has given a terrific boost to renewable energy. It will pay lasting benefits. And we need to keep working on all forms of solar, geothermal and wind power. They work. And the more they get deployed, the more their costs will go down.

Rock of rages: One long, cool look at the history of uranium

Published this month by Viking, Zoellner's latest book, Uranium , traces the scientific, political and even cultural odyssey of this most menacing of all elements in just short of 300 pages. Zoellner said he aimed to tell a story of a humble-looking rock that brings out the best and worst of humanity, from its historic role in the manufacture of nuclear weapons to the promise it holds for keeping climate change in check through nuclear energy.

Europe’s Way of Encouraging Solar Power Arrives in the U.S.

Put simply, the idea is to pay homeowners and businesses top dollar for producing green energy. In Germany, for example, a homeowner with a rooftop solar system may be paid four times more to produce electricity than the rate paid to a coal-fired power plant.

This month Gainesville, Fla., became the first city in the United States to introduce higher payments for solar power, which is otherwise too expensive for many families or businesses to install.

Electric cars charge ahead

But the plug-in dearth seems set to change before long. A combination of unpredictable gasoline prices, prodding activists, unsold SUVs, and hefty government financial incentives for plug-ins have changed the game. After years of foot dragging, major car companies are at last accelerating into a market for electric-powered vehicles of all kinds, analysts say.

“They’re making pretty good progress,” says David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., of GM and other companies’ development efforts. “They’re doing this for real.”

At least nine car companies worldwide say that by 2013 they will offer plug-in vehicles that use electric motors as their primary means of propulsion, according to Plug-in America, an activist group. Some will be all-electric drive vehicles (EV). Most will be plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) that use small gasoline engines as a backup.

Pacific Gas and Electric seeks suppliers for pilot PV power plant

Pacific Gas & Electric is looking for suppliers to bid on a 2-MW pilot photovoltaic power plant--the first step in part of its five-year plan to develop 500 MW of solar in its Northern California coverage area. The utility says it wants to use the pilot project, which will be completed by the end of 2009, to help develop its processes for building and operating PV facilities while it seeks regulatory approval for the full proposal with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

Obama says no quick end to ethanol dispute

Barack Obama on Saturday said there would be no quick resolution to a dispute with Brazil over restricting ethanol imports to the US, following his first meeting with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The Brazilian president, in his first visit to Washington since Mr Obama took office, said it was wrong for the US continued to levy import tariffs on Brazilian sugarcane ethanol, which is more environmentally friendly than the maize ethanol produced in the US.

GERMANY'S LOCAL CURRENCIES: Economic Cure or Fool's Gold?

At some point in the spring of 2004, the money ran out in the village of Güsen in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt. At least, Frank Jansky wasn't receiving any. "People couldn't pay their bills anymore," says Jansky, who runs a lawyer's office in Güsen, where he represents mainly tradesmen and small construction firms.

Around that time, Jansky heard about regional currencies and thought: "That's it." His idea: Instead of using euros, eastern Germany's increasingly pauperized population ought to be able to pay in goods and services. The regional currency would be known as the "Urstromtaler" (the name is a play on words, combining "Urstromtal," the name of a Saxony-Anhalt valley, with "taler," the name of an old German currency -- which incidentally also inspired the name "dollar").

Could readers watch to see what the OPEC announcement is, and post a link when it comes out? I go to church on Sunday mornings, so am not around to check.

From the FT...

Opec’s ministers have dropped their final hints and are now holed up in their meeting on the second floor of the secretariat building overlooking one of the canals of Vienna’s grey-brown Danube. Downstairs several dozen analysts, journalists from around the world, oil company executives and hedge fund boys are milling around running out of things to gossip about. To fill the time, the FT’s Energy Source has conducted an informal and highly unscientific survey. The question: What will Opec do? The two possible answers: 1) Pledge 100 per cent compliance with the 4.2m b/d cuts already announced. 2) Announce a further Opec reduction (probably isnsome garbled way) that would deepen those cuts beyond 4.2m b/d. Of the 15 people asked 11 chose category 1. Most people said they did not know, many said Opec would schedule an interim meeting to reassess the situation before its next official gathering in September. Stay tuned: A decision is expected before 1500 GMT, though in the world of Opec, even that is not certain.

So 1500 GMT or 1100 Eastern time (I think).

It just does not add up for me that they would consider 1)

They need $60-$80 oil to keep up investment in new projects. The price is showing little uplift. The global ecomony is keeping a lid on it....then again....maybe they want to help stimulate growth so that demand lifts again, but then we have another catch 22......"OH darn, I just don't know" - OPEC members!

/Scratches head.

Option 1 makes sense for three reasons:

1. Larger OPEC members are in a strong position to put pressure on smaller members to comply with the already announced cuts. This is given that smaller producers need 60+ $ per barrel.

2. The political ramifications, coming from the international community, particularly US and EU, of cutting production further would have seemed to signal a lack of collaboration between OPEC and its buyers. This is given that the entire world, except for most of OPEC, is in recession.

3. OPEC also wants to signal to Russia that they are not in a corner and are not forced to cut production. They would like to see production cuts from Russia and Norway.

In any case, this is all speculation, but in my mind, OPEC made the right decision to not cut production further.

(I am from an OPEC country by the way)

No additional cut at this time. More compliance with current quota. Next meeting, May 28th.

Thanks! I put an excerpt of a story up top. Here is a link.

Andrew McKillop has a pretty good rant in PetroleumWorld today. Andrew used to be a regular poster on EnergyResources. This article is a sample chapter from Andrew's new book "THE NEXT OIL WAR".

"The Next Oil War"

The problem is historical and economic. The USA's economy is so closely linked with oil, its recent modern history so easy to call a petroimperium that we can be certain that no American leader can imagine US power, or the country itself staying intact without 'command and control' of perhaps 25% or more of the world's oil reserves, production and supply system. Facing the integrism of extreme sunnites and chi'ites, we have the USA's petro-integrism, the doctrinal inability to do without oil, and inability to admit it.

I've always been disturbed by McKillop's anti-Darwin stance and the infuriating way he compares evolutionists to anti-peakists:

Darwinism was (almost exactly) wrong.
The greatest problem with Darwinian evolution theory, apart from it being a theory that can never be verified – because we cant go back to the beginning of life on this planet and “see what happens” – is that no proof at all can be found of ongoing or contemporary evolution. Also, there are only missing links, and no common ancestors. Of course some die-hard Darwinists can howl at this brief summary, but Darwin theory is very, very shaky.

In the exact same way, Peak Oil Negationists, or defenders of the ever-full barrel, are improving their pitch and their research results due to constant discoveries of ‘new oil’ and ‘near oil’, which is then bolstered by ‘revised estimates’ a little more sophisticated than the revisions made by the 5 “Core OPEC” countries during the late 1980s, and miraculously never changed. Yet the Peak Oil Negation message is not at all what the public media wants: here the most grotesque exaggeration and sensationalism is all that counts. Every Baghdad bombing atrocity has to be better than the previous, otherwise the public get bored.

Peak Oil and Darwinism by Andrew McKillop

Thanks for the link Mike. I had no idea that McKillop was a creationist. I used to have a lot of arguments with him on the EnergyResources list but never about evolution. He always argued that higher oil and gasoline prices were good for the economy. He used to rant to the high heavens when I pointed out that most of the past recessions corresponded with a spike in oil prices.

Anyway I had a low opinion of his theories back then and an even lower one now after reading your link.


A simple glance at the article shows one that the guy says Creationism is wrong.

Funny, I read the entire article and nowhere did he even imply that creationism is wrong. He did however say: Darwinism was (almost exactly) wrong." And seeing as there are only two options, Darwinian evolution or creationism, then that would make McKillop a creationist.

McKillop states that there are two options: "many US states school curriculums include not only Darwinist evolution, but also Creationism. Choose either one – you can only be wrong!"

So it's either one or the other according to McKillop. And on this point we agree. Unless you can think of a middle ground, neither evolution nor creationism. I cannot imagine what that would be.


Possibly-I think the guy means both are way off the mark, i.e. choose either one-it makes no difference-they are both wrong. Re the middle ground, IMO a lot of people are in that category-i.e. mutation in living entities has been and is being driven by goal oriented forces that are incomprehensible to humans (permanently).

mutation in living entities has been and is being driven by goal oriented forces that are incomprehensible to humans (permanently).

I know of no one who holds that opinion. Though I have read several evolutionists argue that goal directed evolution is impossible, and go into great detail as to why it is impossible, I have never read a single author who espouses that it is indeed possible.

Darwin goes into great detail to explain how natural selection is exactly like domestic selection, except the former is directed by nature and the latter by man. A wolf, via domestic selection, became Poodle, a Chiwawa, a St. Bernard and every other dog breed you can think of. And, given enough time theses species would undergo enough genetic change that they would not be able to interbreed.

So we do have proof that domestic selection works and from that we can infer that natural selection works. And it is all driven by what Darwin calls “variation”. We all know there is some variation in every offspring. Variants that benefit a plant or animal in survival or reproduction is passed on, variation that is detrimental to survival or reproduction dies out. Simple, so stunningly simple! Ocham’s Razor has its finest hour.

Those who would imply that “something else”, is at work here instead of natural selection, something incomprehensible guiding evolution toward a specific goal, are really implying the hand of God plays a part in it. That is nothing but thinly disguised creationism.


I think it is a stretch to label it as thinly disguised creationism-creationism elevates humans to a special status among animals whereas the view I referred to empathises the primate limitations inherent in the human animal. Re God, IMO that term really can't be used meaningfully without a definition accompanying it.

Fair enough Brian. And I agree that the term "God" can't be used meaningful without a definition of God.

However saying evolution is somehow "goal oriented" without even an attempt to define how this is possible, is the greatest dodge I could ever imagine. And then to throw in the term "incomprehensible", admitting that you have no explination, is simply to talk nonsense. Talk about the lack of a meaningful definition.

I don't doubt that there are many who believe that evolution is goal oriented and guided by something incomprehensible. Something perhaps intelligent. We have all heard that story before. That is not a third position Brian, it is nothing but back door creationism.

nothing but back door creationism
Well stated, and exactly what is being proposed here.
Darwin's Dangerous Idea, and the implication of an algorithm run without intention, is hard for the human ego to accept.

IMO a lot of people do not want to accept the inherent limitations to human knowledge. One example: as animals, we have 5 senses. We have the ability to hear therefore no one questions the existence of sound waves-without this ability existing in animals, sound waves would only exist as a possible theory-IMO the theory probably wouldn't exist at all. The question is: in terms of the understanding of reality, how limited is the body of work circa 2009 (including the popular theory of evolution)? IMO it is extremely limited, it appears you have somewhat more confidence in it.

Brian, you are creating a problem where no problem really exists. Of course there are limitations to human knowledge. We don't know if there are other civilizations on other planets rotating around some distant star, perhaps many others in other galaxies. But that does not mean that we cannot know what drives evolution. We know because it is so stunningly simple. There is no mystery to it.

In every offspring there are mutations, Darwin referred to this simply as variation. One puppy will have shorter ears than its parents and another longer. The vast majority of variations are benign but some are helpful and others are harmful. Those that give the animal a slight edge in survival and/or reproduction will have a far greater chance of being passed on than those that are harmful to survival or reproduction. It is that simple Brian. It's called natural selection. A child could understand it.

Limitations to human knowledge may keep us from knowing many other things about the universe but there are no limitations on something so obvious, so glaringly simple.


A child might understand it, but you certainly don't if you believe that the variation in puppy dog ears explains how you start with a rock (Earth), devoid of life and through your puppy dog ear variations or likewise you end up with the current situation.

Isn't this the "argument from incredulity"?

"It is impossible for my ape brain to conceive how we started with just rocks and ended up with puppydog ears; therefore, it couldn't have happened."

Darwinism (evolution) does not attempt to answer the question of how life came to exist on "... a rock (Earth), devoid of life..."

That is addressed by abiogenesis, the study of how life initially could have arisen on your rock, devoid of life.

Once life arose on that rock, Darwinism (and its simplified example of puppy ears) does a very good job of explaining the "current situation."

Again this seems like a dodge. You're once again changing the subject, this time to abiogenesis. The central question still hasn't been answered: Does the suggestion of incomprehensible goal-orientation within evolution not presuppose supernatural intervention of some sort? And isn't this just ID(creationism)?

"Hi my name is Joe, I am a Christian. I come in peace. Others like me are from a Planet far far away, and about 2,000 years in your future. I am here to tell you, things will be just fine. You will all die in a great explosion in 50 years. It will happen when all the internet crashs and will be fueled by paper money."
Fictional short story written just now.

Seriously, we have had this sort of discussion before, I don't normally post to the topic, but I needed a break from all my other topics they were depressing me.

Whatever you all decide to do is fine with me, But I will still Pray for you.


hehe yeah I don't usually wade into this sort of fray either. I've got a standing rule against arguing with creationists - true faith is impervious to reason after all...

But this one caught my eye. I've seen plenty of people advocating "Creationism that isn't Creationism", which they call Intelligent Design, but this fellow seems to be peddling "Intelligent Design that isn't Intelligent Design", which he seems to have termed Incomprehensible Goal-Orientation. That's a new one, and it got me intrigued.

This will be the last time I break that rule though... All I'm getting in return is dodge after dodge, irrelevant nonsense and semantics. Herding cats, this.

I had a herd of cats once, 7 of them. Once you get them trained the rest is easy, They would never move when Loud bangs would go off in the house, but if I tapped the side of a tuna can they would be there in a flash. They also all came running whenever I fell down, or was sitting on the floor for some reason other than falling down. Several of them responded to their names as well.

I do know that Most of the Christians who post on this site don't get into the fray in these topical thought conversations.

hands everyone a Pool Cue and tell them to have fun at the tables.

"Reality ends where faith begins"

"Religion + Reality = A Zero Sum Game"

Can't remember the source(s), but both have been in my memory for decades.

at a time infinitesimaly close to midnight of the 6th day, the omnipotent one decreed that all biota will henceforth be: goal-oriented.

abiota capitulated and adopted goal-oriention unanimously.

This is straying into downright sillyness now...

Brian, you're going off on a tangent here. The existence or non-existence of sound waves really isn't relevant to what we're talking about. I understand you're making a larger point about human ignorance, but that's really no closer to the mark.

Goal-orientation in evolution - *incomprehensible* goal orientation, no less, sounds an awful lot like intelligent design. Darwinian's trying to get you to explain how that idea differs from supernatural creationism, and instead we're off into the 5 senses and how incomplete human knowledge is.

I mean no disrespect here, but can you understand how to an outside observer it looks an awful lot like you're just dodging the question?

All these terms are being thrown out without clear definitions, or with multiple meanings-i.e. you would like me to differ the idea from "supernatural creationism" and you haven't defined your term, which appears to have numerous definitions (from this discussion). It would be helpful if you could define the term without using the words "God" or "being" or "deity" if you feel creationism is so broad as to refer to any force in existence.

All these terms are being thrown out without clear definitions, or with multiple meanings-i.e. you would like me to differ the idea from "supernatural creationism" and you haven't defined your term, which appears to have numerous definitions (from this discussion).

What I'm expressing is quite straightforward. Here's some help:


It can further be defined as the opposite of naturalistic evolution, if that comparison is useful:


Your turn. What do you mean by "goal oriented forces that are incomprehensible"?

It would be helpful if you could define the term without using the words "God" or "being" or "deity" if you feel creationism is so broad as to refer to any force in existence.

I have no idea what on earth you're talking about here. None. Sorry.

We've seen the term "intelligent design" used to describe the fossil record. This is nothing other than a code word for Creationism, since the invisible "intelligent" actor would be considered a god of some sort.

Unless, of course, we've been here before in a manner of speaking. Perhaps the dinosaurs reached a level of intelligence which allowed them to perform genetic modifications, thus changing the evolutionary path. But, then they died out, leaving behind whatever changes they caused in the genetic makeup of the Earth. Maybe mankind is the result of such previous "breeding". Maybe the Great Apes are offspring of some domesticated "pet" that the dino millionaires kept around for amusement. Sort of like dogs, some of which appear to have child like levels of intelligence...

E. Swanson

You guys are hilarious-you are contempuous of Creationism, yet you are eager to label pretty well any force of the universe as "God".

No Brian, you have it exactly backwards. We are all saying that no God-Force exist in natural selection. You are the one claiming something incomprehensible. And we, or at least I am just saying that is Brian's code word for God. You said:

mutation in living entities has been and is being driven by goal oriented forces that are incomprehensible to humans (permanently).

Permanently no less! Meaning we not only do not know but we can never know. Permanently incomperhensible to us mere mortals. I have heard such phrases many times: "The true nature of God is incomperhensible and unknowable to us humans." Or similar such statements.


Classic-now everything is a code word for GOD. I would assume this propensity comes from a very religious upbringing.

...and where does your propensity for changing the subject come from? :-) Again, not trying to be a jerk here man, it's just you've got dodge-ball skills that would make Patches O'Houlihan proud.

"If you can dodge an argument, you can dodge a ball!" *whap*

Nobody's labeling anything God. They're just trying to get a straight answer. Still no luck I see.

Seems a pretty reasonable label to me... The stretch I see here is the notion that the goal-orientation you described above doesn't inherently suggest a super-natural presence of some sort.

Regardless of how you define God, we can all agree he/she/it is an entity or presence existing outside of the naturalistic world, no?

As I was attempting to explain with the sound wave analogy, natural forces are interpreted to be "supernatural" or "fictional" when understanding is absent.

...and as I said in my reply to the sound wave thing - I understand that is the point you're making. I'm not disagreeing with that.

If you believe the goal-orientation you mentioned is a natural force, simply say so.

Yes. Hopefully thus ends the discussion-good thing Leanan is on vacation.

Taking a wild stab at "goal oriented evolution". I would call that the environment. Typical example, pigmentation in humans to create skin, hair, eye colour for vitamin D absorption in far north. So all those survivable mutations get absorbed, i.e. babies survive better with the lighter skin. God in this sense is the local envrionment. So we are back to a big GOD in the globalization sense and local gods wihich serve everybody just fine where they are, depending on local conditions. If the Egyptians worshipped the sun and the amerindians the animals, trees,etc. then the idea of local environment as God is pretty close to "true". This weird abstraction is the difficult problem. Let it go.

The way I was taught, being a Christian, is thusly.

God over everything, but outside of what we see as everything around us. In a Spirit form, but everything that was made has been made by him.


Read this Creed. It says it all the best way. I know you might not believe it and all, but if you want to know What I was taught, this one creed helps explain some hard to think about topics.

When the word catholic (small C) is used it means "The Christian Chruch" as a whole, not denomenations or divisions, just one body held over the whole world.


I know of no one who holds that opinion. Though I have read several evolutionists argue that goal directed evolution is impossible, and go into great detail as to why it is impossible, I have never read a single author who espouses that it is indeed possible.

I concur with Ron. Further, the mutations that are relevant to evolution originate in the sex cells. These are the ones that are passed on (and sperm incidentally have a much higher mutation rate). Once a fetus begins to develop, the evolutionary phase - descent with modification - is effectively over for that individual. Any mutations from that stage on that develop in the somatic cells won't be passed on.

The latest mutation rates that I have seen indicate that each of us averages about 175 mutated base pairs from our parents. Since the coding portion of the genome is small, these mutations fortunately don't usually cause us big problems. If the mutation happens in a critical coding section, the fetus is sometimes miscarried.

The fetus is sometimes miscarried? Lol. And the baby can be born of two sexes and the doctors have to choose, and, and, and... The permutations are endless.

The thing that I don't understand is why there are no rna-based lifeforms. DNA just didn't appear one day, did it?

There almost certainly was RNA before there was DNA. One might argue that a rudimentary ribosome and a strand of RNA that encodes the protein for that ribosome would constitute the absolute minimal thing that could be called "life".

Most viruses, IIRC, are just strands of RNA within a protein shell. They probably evolved soon after the first procaryotes, as hijacking someone else's ribosomes is a very rewarding form of parasitism. I wonder if the evolution of DNA in procaryotes, and then the evolution of eucaryotes, were defensive reactions against viral invasions of RNA?


I do know of people who hold that opinion.

First, I do not believe in Abraham's god, and I do believe in Darwinian evolution in a contingent (ie It just happened) universe.

I am however a recovering Catholic, and guided evolution is their preferred explanation. It is indeed a form of creationism. It is however old earth creationism which has one big advantage over over your earth creationism: It allows the believer to continue to believe in a just and loving god.

young earth creationism says that god created within the last 10,000 years an earth, a solar system and an astronomical universe that appear to be billions of years old. At best this is a rather bogus test of faith. At worst a trap for those who actually exercise their god-given gift of reason.

In contrast, old earth creationism does not require god to lie. (deliberately misdirect for the believers out there) The universe really can be 12 billion years old, and it can have developed according to its internal laws. There are plenty of dice rolls involved in evolution, all it requires is for god to have loaded the dice on a tiny fraction of those rolls. And who at this remove is to say that the big bang did not follow from "Fiat lux!"?

As I say, I don't believe it, but it's internally consistent and doesn't require a god that lies.


Or the dice are loaded but God didn't load them.

I do know of people who hold that opinion.

I am however a recovering Catholic, and guided evolution is their preferred explanation.

Frank, I am aware that there are millions of people who believe that evolution was guided by the hand of God. But God was not mentioned in Brian’s post where he stated:

mutation in living entities has been and is being driven by goal oriented forces that are incomprehensible to humans (permanently).

My intention was to say that I know of no one who believes in goal oriented evolution not guided by the hand of God. Therefore Brian was simply trying to sneak God in the back door.

Hope that clears it up.


So we do have proof that domestic selection works and from that we can infer that natural selection works.

We also have seen some evolutionary responses to human changed conditions. The most famous example was the colour of british moths, who were selcted for invisability on bark. Predation by birds of the moths they could find was the mechanism here. For lower life forms we have the very real (and serious) phenomemon of resistance to antibiotics. There is concern among some fish and game managers that the tendency to take trophies, is leading to evolution away from trophy characteristics.

And of course one can model a population, with simulated genetics, and see how selective pressure caused gene frequency to change with time.

"goal oriented forces"? Whose goals? What forces? This idea presupposes some sort of entity to formulate said goal, and presumably to coordinate said forces to achieve it.

If so, what you're describing here is the theory of Intelligent Design. It's a form of "creationism in sheep's clothes" if you will, and has been roundly discredited as simply a sneaky, manipulative term used to try to wedge creationism into the classroom.

If not, what exactly *are* you talking about? Some sort of goal-orientation inherent in evolution that is not supernatural in origin?

Isn't there a third option - namely, punctuated equilibrium in the realm of biology and its analogue, neo-catastrophism, in the realm of geology? Both take as their point of departure a repudiation of Darwinian and Lyellian gradualism, yet neither constitutes creationism (to say the least).

Phil, Eldridge and Gould, the biologists who coined the term "Punctuated Equilibrium" were both Darwinians. They simply believed that evolution happens in spurts often with long periods of stasis in between. Nothing in their writings repudiates natural selection. Niles Eldridge is, and Stephen Jay Gould was, a Darwinian.

Gould, but not Eldridge, toyed with Richard Goldschmidt's "Hopful Monster" theory but never totally endorsed the concept. And as Dawkins has pointed out many times, no evolutionists ever implied that evolutionary change is constant. So Eldridge and Gould were attempting to overthrow a theory that was held by absolutely no one.


Seems to me that "forces" needs definition as much as does "god." Science doesn't need deux ex machinas.

Bryant has a point, however, in that human intelligence seems inadequate ever to understand everything about the universe. In postulating how things work, we keep finding smaller and smaller parts -- atoms, then neutrons and protons, then quarks and such (forgive me if I don't take time to look up proper terms) -- and lately, strings that are too small ever to perceive directly. And since I've heard little about them lately, perhaps that story isn't working out.

So, yeah, our senses seem too coarse to detect all the moving parts. Which has nothing to do with evolution that operates on scales quite accessible to us. The evidence is, that once life started on Earth, it varied and adapted, until it's taken all the forms we know today -- all life on this planet is related. People and carrots had a common ancestor, which can be inferred genetically.

Seems to me that all we know for sure is that we exist, and the rest is stories we tell. Lately we've learned to base our supposedly factual stories on evidence, which moves most of our cultural origin stories into the categories of legends. People have developed as meaning-seeking, pattern-perceiving creatures. There are no pictures in the sky, but we're driven to connect the dots. "God" seems a term for the mystery of existence, "grace" or "providence" other terms for chance.

The idea of miracles or the supernatural seems a product of the scientific world-view. In olden days, EVERYTHING was thought to happen because of God or Providence or Spirit -- the wind, the rain, illness, whatever. Now we resort to extra-factual explanations only where knowledge is lacking. If religious folks find it helpful to imagine that "God" gives things a nudge now and then, so that they can reconcile their prescientific narrative with what we know now of how the world works, let them. So long as they're willing to operate day-to-day on evidence and not drag superstition into public policy. (Historically, the religious idea of "Truth" -- opinion backed by tradition and authority -- has been used as a license to kill those who don't agree.)

Well said!! up down top bottom strange charm. dont worry about strings. there is no way of observing them yet so basically just about an exercise in mathematics.

as per my above comment. If environment = god then change in environment forces punctuated change in evolution, meaning the adapted mutations survive. If the environment does not change then no evolution takes place. We see this in evolutionary record, like dnosaur die off due to global change and new species coming up afterwards. Otherwise evolution is just coincidental in existing environment (decorative changes in plumage for example). I am being dense or simplistic? I think God is spirit and matter, it is just a metter of degree. God reveals itself to us locally in physical form and in abstract sense in pure energy of spirit but there should be no contradiction here or need for atheism/theism dichotomy. This is childish and immature western black/white thinking. Spiritual and physical evolution are one and same and work in tandem. Why should any sensible explanation exclude another if it truly works. at a higher level both answers are included in amore complicated system. this is the case with evolutionary theory and western concepts of "religion/God".

I disagree with that it has to be either creationism or evolution. I actually believe that, to some degree, God put evolution in place and set the rules and the laws that govern it. I don't see why any religious person would object to that.

Evolution by chance, that I don't believe.

There is no god. Evolution is by chance. The universe is a big empty place. The earth isn't at the center of it.

One of these days someone is going to explain to me, how after rolling a six sided die for ten million times I one day got the Seventh side. That is how I see Evolving from a single cell organism.

There will be a time after we die when we get the answers. Some of the rest of it has to be based on Faith, because you can't fully understand all that is going on in the world around us.


I wont get any answers after I die. Gotta get as many as I can now. I may not be able to fully understand the world but, I will try anyway.

I love to play Billards, or Pool as I call it. Everytime I stand there thinking about a shoot, I know that I don't know everything about Vector Mechanics, but using that field I would be able to tell you why and how my shot can work.

Go For learning all you can, just never have TIA, or any other kind of brain injury. TIA is ministrokes. Life gets interesting when your body fails you.


1985, the year the US went bankrupt.

Who would benefit more from the doubling of oil reserves in the
ME in 1985?

In 1983, Kuwait increased its proven reserves from 67 Gbbl (10.7×10^9 m3) to 92 Gbbl (14.6×10^9 m3). In 1985-86, the UAE almost tripled its reserves from 33 Gbbl (5.2×10^9 m3) to 97 Gbbl (15.4×10^9 m3). Saudi Arabia raised its reported reserve number in 1988 by 50%. In 2001-02, Iran raised its proven reserves by some 30% to 130 Gbbl (21×10^9 m3), which advanced it to second place in reserves and ahead of Iraq. Iran denied accusations of a political motive behind the readjustment, attributing the increase instead to a combination of new discoveries and improved recovery. No details were offered of how any of the upgrades were arrived at.[19


"Facing the integrism of extreme sunnites and chi'ites"

Integrism? That's not English, it would be French for fundamentalism except that strictly speaking fundamentalism is something from an arcane back-room of Christianity. And "chi'ites" would be a French spelling as well.

So here's my cultural question; perhaps a European reader knows. For a European for whom English does not seem to be a first language - the article reads like a nicely touched-up Google translation from French - what would be the source of views like his about darwinism, the views argued about elsewhere in this sub-thread? I thought the dominant meme was that such views were utterly dead in Europe, regarded as belonging to the medieval past, or as limited to the harsh "Anglo-Saxon" world or just to the USA.

Russia says it will reduce exports and increase domestic consumption

Russia will "be cutting oil exports while increasing domestic consumption and expanding oil refining, said Sechin, adding that his country also would delay the development of two oil fields in the northwest.

Full story:

Seems like an explicit confirmation of Jeffrey’s ELM


To paraphrase George Orwell, "Some consumers are more equal than others."


It would be interesting to see Mexico's ELM today.

I agree. Mexico is an interesting real time case history. There were some signs of lower consumption in late 2008, but the overall annual Pemex data appeared to show a slight upward bump in 2008. I estimate that if Mexico wanted to maintain net exports of one mbpd, (assuming a production decline rate of -10%/year), they would have to cut their consumption in half over the next five years.

Hello TODers,

Does Putin study TOD and WT's ELM? Consider the toplink: "Russia to cut oil exports, raise domestic consumption - Sechin"
"We will be cutting oil exports through the expansion of domestic consumption. In particular, we plan to transfer 2 million tons of fuel to agricultural producers and also increase oil refining inside the country," Sechin said.
Although Sechin doesn't go into detail as to what defines an agro-producer, I think it is safe to assume that he means to expand their Strategic fuel storage capabilities across their entire food supply chain.

IMO, this would entail more localized storage to support irrigation, P & K mining & ore beneficiation, farm tractor & combine refueling supply depots, and the enlarged RR and trucking fuel depots to move ammonia & urea [N-products], plus the movement of finished I-NPK products and harvested foodstuffs.

The more oil refining that is done inside Russia: this will allow them to retain the recovered sulfur. This is also strategically crucial for industrial function besides I-NPK manufacturing.

It will be interesting to see when Russia announces its desire to build a Strategic Multi-Year Reserve of I-NPK. Recall that Pakistan & Indonesia [both postPeak now] have already announced their desire to build Strategic Reserves of urea.

So now we have the SPRs of the US, China, and Russia. This should be a pretty clear evidence to use against any Peakoil deniers.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Totoneila did you read the March 14th Automatic Earth


Just did--Thxs! Yep, let's hope SCT can somehow get big funding to move his project forward. It would be very gratifying if it became a global success story. Too bad we persist in shoveling our tax money into zombie banks and AIG.

We are evolved to walk in the daylight, then sit in the dark, but we can't do starvation. I still think that, in the long run, Morocco's phosphate will be more important than crude oil. We will do anything for NPK to get the lucky opportunity to grow food.

"We will do anything for NPK to get the lucky opportunity to grow food."

You know if we were to get down to a lower population needing Large NPK production takes care of itself with smaller farming and living arrangements.

I do wonder when that will happen, 20 or 200 years from now when things reach a balance again, after this coming shake up.


I try to keep tabs on SCT's writing. I do that via his [url=http://www.dailykos.com/user/Stranded%20Wind/diary]Daiky Kos Diary[/url which he spends a lot to time at ( he's got an entry for the 15th).

Also, here is his archive.

does ole Vlad Putin visit the oil drum? i don't zactly know, but if you click on the site meter to the right side of page, click on world map, click on last 300 visits, you will see that somebody from thr russian federation, moscow city, moscow. ip address had visited.
neat stuff, by the time someone reads this it will likely be on the last 500 visits.

It is the difference between

a: How to get elected ... change

b: How to stay elected ... SOS

Sarah and the old man lucked out. Wasn't it the winner, after looking at the real situation, asked for a recount. :-)

speaking of Sara, if you go back to the sitemeter, and click world map, and click last 500 visitors, you will see that someone from Wasilla Alaska has visited. it sure wasn't the caribou.

"Organics" Gem of the Day

Lady Eve Balfour observed:

"I have lived a healthy country existence practically all my life, and for the last 25 years of it I have been actively engaged in farming. I am physically robust, and have never suffered a major illness, but until 1938 I was seldom free in winter from some form of rheumatism, and from November to April I invariably suffered from a continual succession of head colds. I started making compost by Howard's method using it first on the vegetables for home consumption.... That winter I had no colds at all and almost for the first time in my life was free from rheumatic pains even in prolonged spells of wet weather."

Quoted in Organic Gardener's Composting by Steve Solomon

Post hoc fallacy.

Will "organics" help lead us out of the post-peak wilderness?

Not as it's currently preached and practiced it won't.

"USDA makes no claims that organically produced food is safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food.” *

How long will "organic" remain just Green gibberish for "pony up"?

Credibility means getting rid of the crap.

Words are tools. If you don't like what they're being used for, use them differently yourself. By your own admission, you are still using the word "organic" to mean Greenspeak for "pony up".

However, "organic" is only slightly less useless a word than "natural". Deadly nightshade, cobra venom, vomit, shark's teeth, bullshit, and Dick Fuld are all organic. Doesn't mean any of it's good for you.

Credibility means being credible, and telling a credible story always has a little crap fertilizer or fantasy in it. We can't get rid of the crap, the crap is necessary, it's just being used in the wrong places. Crap in the garden, good. Crap on the head, bad.

Maybe a different word needs to be found. Or a way to avoid single-word icons altogegther. Like with milk products that display the Real(tm) logo. I've never once, anywhere, seen the square root of negative milk. Never. And if there was imaginary milk, could they charge for it since it didn't exist? So what's the point in telling me it's "real"?

So maybe the charge shouldn't be against "organic" or "real", instead maybe the charge should be against "teh stoopid".

By the way, even though you may never see "the square root of negative milk", here on TOD is the only place on the Internet you will see that phrase.

I am coming to the conclusion that, although my farm is completely reliant on leaves, cow & chicken manure, and compost for fertilizer; mulches for weed control; and hand tools for cultivation, "organic" may not be a term I want to be associated with anymore.

We'll see. More research and postings to come.


I was always under the impression the mineral content of organic was higher?

By comparing the differences in mineral content between organically and inorganically grown vegetables, one can conclude that there are enormous mineral deficiencies in inorganically grown foods.

May or may not be true. I don't know.

I'm not saying there's no value to organic farming. I'm saying there's a WHOLE LOT of CHAFF to be separated from the WHEAT.

IMO the close to 600% exponential growth in the human population in the last century was caused by the move away from organic farming to an unsustainable fossil fueled one.

The implication is that at some stage it is inevitable that a lot of humans will starve as we have to move back to organic.

However, we still have at least half the fossil fuel remaining and I guess agriculture will take priority over every other use for fossil fuels ... so the limiting factor is probably something else like soluble phosphorous.

IMO the close to 600% exponential growth in the human population in the last century was caused by the move away from organic farming to an unsustainable fossil fueled one.

No, the actual cause was unprotected heterosexual intercourse!

That we moved from traditional agriculture to the "Green Revolution" enabled us to feed these progeny.

That it is, indeed, "unsustainable" is just a tragedy.

But then so is "organic" unsustainable at 6.7 billion and burgeoning to the tune of +200,000 a day.

"By the way, even though you may never see "the square root of negative milk", here on TOD is the only place on the Internet you will see that phrase."

Think non-dairy milk products as my dad intoned when I read your comments to him.

I did get a good chuckle out of your prose though, and thanks for that.

I have always pondered those labels on things, wondering why in the world they would need to tell me what is otherwise commone sense to me. "Do not eat this package, it contains harmful metal particles that might cause you to die, we don't want to get sued so we are labeling this package so that if you were stupid enough to go ahead and eat it, we won't have to pay for any of those things you do to yourself"

Labeling has evolved into it's own Bio-Hazard.

"Natural" really irks me. WE are all a part of the system, Like it or not. If we were to make it, then we used something Natural, then because we are part of the system what we made is still Natural. But maybe it is just me and my old Tree Hugger self.


But thanks for the laugh, it is good to laugh, right before you realize the ground just hit you.

"By the way, even though you may never see "the square root of negative milk", here on TOD is the only place on the Internet you will see that phrase."

I'll copy it into an email and spam it into my mailing list, given time and others doing it, we'll have you on the road to Quoters history.


ps, I don't spam, so this is not serious. When I post to my Blog several times I do let people know about it, but I Blind-Carbon-copy any mailing lists, so no one sees other's addresses, no farming of my list.

"November to April I invariably suffered from a continual succession of head colds. I started making compost by Howard's method using it first on the vegetables for home consumption.... That winter I had no colds"

Dust, Mold and other things can cause the sniffles. I would bet by her using anytype of composting she changed the kinds of dusts and molds she breathed in and that might have changed her sniffles.

It all depends on you definition of organic, What all you mean by it. That is where the problem comes in when you regulate it as well.

The Government, can make a label so hard to understand that by the time you understand what it is all about they will have found a way to change it on you.

We will have to go back to nature as it were after the peak in production gets noticable. Will there be sickness and ill health for most of the next few generations, yeah duh, there will always be illnesses that crop up in groups of people. Will we as a whole be better off in 100 years than we as a whole today? Most likely we will still have what is known as poor people and rich people. But those that are left should be able to feed themselves by some time in the future, or else well, they will just dieoff.

What our basic problem in all this is the knowledge that we are going to go from 7 billion people to something far less than that in a very short amount of time and that generally scares most everyone who hears about it.

Note, here is something to laugh about, in one of your small water bottles in the fridge, replace the water with Clear Alcohol. Just don't tell anyone which one it is.... 55 years ago this happened to my dad, over at a friend's house he grabbed the wrong clear fluid container, a few gulps later he was real sick for a while... something I just thought about while chatting about all the water bottles we have in our fridge today. Thought you might enjoy my stream of thought.

More power to making your own ales, beers, wines in the future.


Dust, Mold and other things can cause the sniffles. I would bet by her using anytype of composting she changed the kinds of dusts and molds she breathed in and that might have changed her sniffles.

Of course, it's possible, and it's also testable. Such assertions as those by "Lady" Balfour should be rigorously and repeatedly tested.

Instead what I often see are mere anecdotes like hers masquerading at proof.

Unfortunately the vast majority of people do not understand randomized double blind trials, so they may prefer to believe Lady Balfour, or whatever charismatic speaker is doing the rounds. I share your belief that the term "organic" loses its meaning when "Big Organic", as described by Michael Pollan, lobbies against tough standards, etc, and people buy "natural" beef, even though it's raised in a feedlot. The only value is in pointing our that people do not trust "better living through chemistry" as much as they used to, so maybe that's a leverage point for those of us who are trying to advocate for sustainable food production.

The only value is in pointing our that people do not trust "better living through chemistry" as much as they used to, so maybe that's a leverage point for those of us who are trying to advocate for sustainable food production.

Actually, I would say as long as the "organic" movement opposes modern "chemistry," it's doomed.

I happen to appreciate a lot of "better living through modern chemistry." The more organic folks opposed modernity, the more they lose. The more they persecute conventional farmers, the more they lose.

"Organic" should encompass soil conservation, localization, and fewer material inputs. That's all, because that's enough.

"Instead what I often see are mere anecdotes like hers masquerading at proof."

When there are enough anecdoters like hers, it is proof. Same, same, "History is a bunch of lies mutually agreed upon."

If such testimonials are scientifically worthless, why are they so popular?...They are often made by enthusiastic people who seem trustworthy and honest, and who lack any reason to deceive us. They are often made by people with some semblance of authority, such as those who hold a Ph.D.... To some extent, testimonials are believable because people want to believe them. Often, one anticipates with hope some new ... instruction. ... The experience and the testimonial it elicits are given more significance than they deserve.

Anecdotal evidence.

Lasers to create mini sun in hunt for clean energy


I liked this bit:

I think the old joke about fusion being just 50 years away, no matter when you ask, is about to become defunct

I'm not laughing!!


Coal-fired power stations are death factories. Close them

Disagree (you all know why) but here is a link anyway.


And the replacement is......?


G20 pledges to restore global growth


"Well that fixes that problem, now to sort that pesky energy problem."

Have you read the Wikipedia article on the NIF laser fusion facility? The complexity is mind-boggling. I believe this minor detail alone rules out practical use for power generation.

One important aspect of any ICF research project is ensuring that experiments can actually be carried out on a timely basis. Previous devices generally had to cool down for hours to allow the flashlamps and laser glass to regain its shape after firing caused thermal expansion, limiting use to one or fewer firings a day. One of the goals for NIF is to reduce this time to 5 hours, in order to allow 700 firings a year.


Children come with a high carbon cost



FDA Prepares Nation For Switch To Digital Food Format


Are we allowed humour at the weekend?:

The only thing consumers who currently rely on analog foods will need is a digital converter box, which you can purchase at any grocery store



You are allowed humor most times. We all need to laugh more if we can during all stages of life, more when we are under greater stress.

Why worry I can go online and get fed just by looking at all the neat pictures of food.

For a minute there it almost sounded like some of the Emergancy Rations I bought a couple of weeks ago. One batch from here..

Could give you 100% of your daily minerals and vitamins plus energy. Other brands are better on taste but lower in mineral and vitamin content.

I wonder how they would feel about my "transporter" beaming steaks every night to my table? I mine them out of Moon dust. I am selling the service so that in 50 years we won't have to worry about the moon falling out of orbit onto us.


Party On Dudes!
Saudi Arabia is going to hold the equivalent of the historical Ghawar Field productive capacity (roughly current total US crude oil production) in reserve.

Saudi spare capacity to reach 4.5 mbpd

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said the kingdom would have 4.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of spare capacity by June this year.

He also said the cost of maintaining spare output capacity was very high but worthwhile, in remarks to reporters at a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna on Sunday. "It is very high, but it is worth it. The world appreciates it," Al-Naimi said.

I estimate that the cumulative shortfall between what Saudi Arabia would have (net) exported at their 2005 rate and what they actually exported will exceed a billion barrels of oil this year.

Thanks for the link. It is good to be reminded now and again that the good times are still rolling and we're still high up near the peak.

This is especially true for net oil exporters. Indonesia shipped 44% of their post-2006 cumulative net oil exports in just two years after their final production peak in 1996. Our middle case is that the top five net oil exporters have shipped about one-fifth of their post-2005 cumulative net oil exports in just three years.

Well, the OPEC ministers have decided:

OPEC ministers to keep present output

VIENNA (AP) - OPEC oil ministers say they will stick to present output levels but seek to end overproduction by some members.

The decision Sunday means there will be no cutbacks from production levels established in December. It also translates into pressure on members of the 12-nation producer group who are exporting more oil than their quotas call for.

The 11 members under production quotas are overshooting their joint daily target level of just under 25 million barrels by about 800,000 barrels a day.

Since the Northern Hemisphere is about to enter the Summer driving season, this decision may not be so bad for OPEC. In the U.S., at least, we are experiencing increased gasoline consumption as prices are lower than they were last year at this time. OPEC can always cut production of demand does not increase enough to shrink the "excess" production. If they cut too much, the price would spike again and the world economy would become even worse than presently predicted.

E. Swanson


Regarding the endless debates over the timing of Peak Oil, I have run some interesting numbers. While we have some monthly examples of crude oil production exceeding 74 mbpd (EIA, C+C), I can't find any example of a five month average production number, the 12 month running average or the average annual data ever hitting 74 mbpd.

I am increasingly convinced that the July, 2008 monthly "peak" was an inventory drawdown fluke, in response to the highest oil prices in history. Look how sharp the August and September declines were (making up for the inventory drawdown?), followed by a rebound, before we got into what was clearly a voluntary reduction in late 2008. The average monthly production rate over a five month period centered on July, 2008 (two months on either side of July, 2008) was 73.9 mbpd (subject to revision, generally downward). This was only very slightly above the annual average rate in 2005, and it is identical to the five month average centered on May, 2005, 73.9 mbpd.

Of course, the 64 trillion dollar question is whether the world can ever exceed 74 mbpd on a sustained basis.

Regarding this question, I have of course been accused of doing great damage to the "Peak Oil Movement." My all time favorite criticism was that I was personally responsible for destroying the Peak Oil Movement and I was compared to Saddam Hussein (this was of course, not RR). Who knew I was such a despicable creature? The criticism is that by supporting Deffeyes' work regarding a near term peak in the 2004 to 2008 time frame (most likely 2005), I was basically like the boy crying wolf (of course, the wolf did show up).

Given the present reality that we face, I would take an opposite view. I think that it is irresponsible--given the realities that we face, e.g., a collection of very old giant oil fields (oil stained brine as Simmons puts it) and reduced investments in oil production (aggravated by the net export situation)--to assert that we can exceed 74 mbpd on a sustained basis. Basically, ExxonMobil, CERA and OPEC (see the Saudi comments up the thread) are telling us to Party On Dudes!

IMO, the bottom line is that Deffeyes nailed it.

Clearly, even if it is a coincidence, something changed in the 2004 to 2008 time frame, when crude production basically stopped increasing in 2005, in response to higher crude oil prices. This is the same pattern--flat to declining crude production in response to higher crude prices--that we saw when the Lower 48 peaked in 1970 and when the North Sea peaked in 1999. And mathematically, the world was to 2005 as the North Sea was to 1999 as the Lower 48 was to 1970.

Jeff, I agree with everything you say but I really don't see the exact date worth arguing about. Peak oil is in the rear view mirror and that is the most important point of all. It was more of a plateau than a peak. That plateau lasted four years, 2005 thru 2008. If we were wrong about anything we were wrong about how much oil $140 a barrel would bring out. But a few barrels one way or the other is not worth arguing about.

Concerning the accusation of "destroying the peak oil movement", that is absurd. Peak oil was never a movement. How can a simple fact of geology be a movement? There was a debate about when the peak would happen but that can hardly be called a movement.

For those who say we, by claiming that peak oil is here, are doing a great disservice to society or whomever, that is crazy. They have it exactly backwards. CERA, and those who are claiming that peak oil is decades into the future are the ones doing the world a great disservice.


You're wrong about peak oil not being a movement. While certainly the concept of peak oil is rooted in geological fact it is also a fact that blog sites like TOD and the likes with movements by others to change their ways of life based on this geological fact prove you very wrong. Ok..so don't call it the Peak Oil movement...call it whatever. It certainly has moved me to behave differently.

The best term is... "Peak Oil Awareness" that can be a Movement. Like Ron says, Peak Oil itself is Fact, while being aware of the fact is more in tune to using Movement as an add on.


Jeff, I agree with everything you say but I really don't see the exact date worth arguing about.

I agree. The only thing I would add is that basically Peak Oil = Peak Lite. I think that we are in a situation where we can't differentiate the two given the high underlying decline rate versus declining investments in new production. If we take the average between ExxonMobil's high end estimate for the decline from existing wells (-6%/year) and Schlumberger's estimate (-8%/year), we are going to lose about 5 mbpd from existing fields just this year.

Regardless of whether it's Peak Oil or it's Permanent Peak Lite, I think that we need to emphasize that the chances of us ever seeing more than 74 mbpd on an annual basis are extremely low.

IMO, the bottom line is that Deffeyes nailed it.

wow, I see many people on here are really in denial on this, he did not nail it, he called 2005, and we had a peak in 2008, and likely anohter peak once prices come back. Even if he had got 2005 right he would not have "NAILED IT" because this is not the first time he has predicted peak oil, see JD's post:


I believe under your link is that website that compared Colin Campbell to Al Quaeda?

Saw that a few years back. Haven't been back there since.

Tuna, the peak plateau lasted from 2005 thru 2008. OPEC, less Angola who was not a member then, peaked in 2005. But adding Angola in 2007, OPEC's numbers were barley above the 2005 numbers. Non-OPEC peaked in 2004. Non-OPEC's production was 763,000 barrels per day less in 2008 than their peak production of 2004.

Anything is possible but I would give ten to one odds that there will be no new peak in the future. OPEC was producing flat out in 2008 and Non-OPEC was already in decline. With Non-OPEC continually in decline (almost 60% of world oil production) and OPEC's giant fields in decline, there is every chance that we will never see 74 mb/d again. Production in thousand barrels per day. (EIA numbers.)

2005 73,737
2006 73,461
2007 73,012
2008 73,791

2008 was 54 kb/d above 2005. That is about as close as it gets. But no matter, that was obviously a four year plateau. And when OPEC decides to pump flat out again, they will not likely reach 2008 levels, and remove Angola from the mix and they will not even come close to their 2005 levels. And since Non-OPEC is in continious decline, the peak is in the rear view mirror. After all, even the IEA now says that Non-OPEC will have zero growth this year.


Oh for goodness sake and JD's quoting Robert Rapier on this.

Look plain and simple the current EIA figures are flagged as ESTIMATES for the whole of 2008. It is not possible to draw a definite conclusion from the public data as of now. Figures can get revised for years afterwards.

Even in the extremely unlikely case that these figures stand the test of time, unless someone can show that the maximum error in the EIA figures is less than 54k (less than 0.1%) then you can't claim a new peak.

As of now, best public EIA estimate is a statistical dead-heat.

Deffeyes erroneously observed that the world production peak was 2000, but he never backed away from what his model showed, a peak from 2004 to 2008, most likely in 2005. I realize that JD has trouble with simple concepts like the difference between an observation and a prediction, but I don't think that is a mistake that the rest of us should make.

and likely another peak once prices come back. . .

Been there, done that.

Average US spot crude price in 2001, $33. Average price in 2005, $56. Average price in 2008, $100.

In the 43 month period following 10/01, and ending in 5/05, the cumulative increase between what the world would have produced at the 10/01 rate and what was actually produced was about 3.5 Gb.

In the 43 month period following 5/05, and ending in 12/08, the cumulative shortfall between what the world would have produced at the 5/05 rate and what was actually produced was close to 1.0 Gb.

As noted up the thread, this was what we also saw in the Lower 48 and the North Sea.

Given the present reality that we face, I would take an opposite view. I think that it is irresponsible--given the realities that we face, e.g., a collection of very old giant oil fields (oil stained brine as Simmons puts it) and reduced investments in oil production (aggravated by the net export situation)--to assert that we can exceed 74 mbpd on a sustained basis. Basically, ExxonMobil, CERA and OPEC (see the Saudi comments up the thread) are telling us to Party On Dudes!

While Robert and I have had some "discussions," he is in full agreement with the ELP recommendations I made. And as Nate said the other day, it's time quit arguing over the timing of Peak Oil and start focusing on your ELP plans. Of course, if you wish to encourage people to buy a SUV to drive to and from their suburban McMansion, that's your choice.

It depends on the details of those recommendations are. If you are recommending purchase a hybrid/PHEV, then I agree. If you are recommending buying a townhome or condo in a new urbanist community, then yeah I agree with that. If you are recommending to peope to sell all their worldly belonging, and moving the extended family to farm a plot of land, then I disagree, and I think you recommending something of this sort is damn irresponsible.

"If you are recommending to peope to sell all their worldly belonging, and moving the extended family to farm a plot of land, then I disagree, and I think you recommending something of this sort is damn irresponsible."

Okay I'll ask. When did Westexas say something like that?

I would suggest something like that though, IMO it is something some people should think about. SOME people, not all of them.

I would sell all my extra toys, all my extra-space inside my house IE find something smaller if I could with land attached. Get out of Debt as fast as I could. Buy Land that could grow food. and Get there as fast as possible. The work will be good for you. But I would not depend on living off the land Totally for at least 5 to 10 years at least, it will take you that long to plan, Plant, and adjust. More people need to do this than we have doing it now. Sooner while we still have the means to get things going.

If nothing ever happens and you see in 20 years that all your work was just kinda foolish worry, you still have your Sustainable lifestyle, that you did not have living in a McMansion.


Let me ask you a few questions Tommy Tuna.

You are a recent memeber here, have you been reading here longer than that?

We have really gone over this sort of thing before. Peaking Oil Production is going to happen, Period. We have the numbers of when Oil Production got high. We have the numbers of Humans living on earth and their oil needs. We know those human numbers are growing. We know China would love to be like us. So sooner rather than later Oil Production will peak.

Listening to a site that tries to debunk some or all of these statements, just gets you into hot water.

But being someone that has Faith in a God that most people think is not real, I'll give you slack and let you read what you want to read and post what you want to post. But some things will increase the likelihood of others beginning to tune you out over time. Some People don't post here anymore because of that fact.


Main Stream Media To The Rescue?

Stop Saving Now!

As consumers hibernate and investors hoard cash, the economy is withering. This new age of thrift is understandable. But for a recovery to take hold, Americans will need to start taking risks again.


Americans have been roundly criticized for the last 30 years for being shallow and shortsighted and now that people are beginning to realize that there are actually limits to growth TPTB are urging us to get back to over-consumption:

Where are all the tourists and office workers, the hordes of junior analysts lining up in Starbucks?

In other words where are the mindless consumers? A lot of them are waking up like a drunk from a week-long binge trying to figure out how to pay for the homes and cars that they bought with no money down.

...the intellectual scaffolding surrounding that culture of debt and risk has fallen along with the stocks of Citigroup and AIG.

For years a lot of people off the beaten path like J.H. Kunstler and folks here on TOD have been calling for a different direction and a reconsideration of where our societal priorities should be going forward. I think the present difficulties offer an opportunity to create real systemic change. IMHO we need to take the culture of consumerism and bury it...deep. What do we put in it's place? How about the concept of responsible citizenship.


Yes, this article seems a desperate cry from the MSM to save themselves. People are starting to understand that they shouldn't always listen and follow blindly what their government, advertisers, and media tell them to do. Perhaps, just maybe, they don't have your interests at heart. More people are paying with cash, fixing their own stuff, and doing their own lawn work. I think we are waking up from a several decades of slumber.

I wouldn't worry to much about "the new thrift". I discreetly, but regularly, quiz my friends and neighbors about their consumption habits. Most are still lusting for a new car/computer/tv to add to their already large debt. All the while complaining how nobody will make an offer on their house near its "real" value.

Good point -- I've had somewhat similar experiences in Europe.

New thrift = euphemism for 'maxed out'?

When are people going to get the notion that REAL Value is only as good as the amount of usable things your land can give you.

If you have a big house with a tiny yard, you can use your big house as a Commune, but you need lots more land to grow food on, REAL value, is way down there in most cases.

This all boils down to Greed.

I have in my future a House, sooner or later it will be in my name not my parent's. If I can hold on to it( with present laws and rules, I get it, but who knows when someone will cease it cause they need to make a spaceport right here). It is paid for. It is small, and the land could feed me. But it's REAL Value is only about as much as they got the loan for. $25,000. They Paid a lot more for it, but I don't think it is worth that much.

The folks that live "The I got to have Life Style" are going to get the biggest shock. I just wonder why that were not taught any Real Values?


Spend spend spend, then when you are old and grey you will have bills so high you can just get on top of them and use them as bed and blankets, and use them to light a fire at night.

When Joe lost his job, he maxed out his credit card, now he has nothing to spend, so it looks like he is hording money. I would be willing to bet (not much though) that some of the lack of spending is that people can't afford to spend the money they do have or risk losing their homes, maybe even losing a car which they need to get around in.

If I don't SPEND, maybe I don't have it TO Spend. MSM and TPTB don't get most of this because right now most of them still have their jobs and still can afford to spend money. But Joe and Fran Public are looking at friends and local groups of people losing their jobs and wondering if they might be next, and even if they aren't going to be next, Buying for show is not high on the list.

Spring and Summer are just around the corner, if the Spending does not crank up in a few months we will really see the news articles of need for spending, After all, didn't the Prez just tell people that everything is Rosy in our world, China might have been the target, but he was talking to the rest of us too.


As for me, I deeply resent anyone, whether it be Newsweek or President Obama, telling me I need to consume for the good of the economy. If the rest of the citizens choose to buy into this, literally, and become deeper in debt, that is their business. But I am not going to jeopardize my personal well being and survival because people cannot figure out how to have a viable economy without massive and mindless consumption. Besides, most of the money for the kind of consumption they are talking about is what is called a leakage, not money that gets counted as part of our Gross Domestic Product. That is, it heads overseas, especially China.

Any significant expenditures I make will be investments, the kinds of expenditures that will reap some kinds of savings or return in the coming years. I am in the process of moving and despite our relatively frugal existence and downsizing over the years, we still need to bear down and get rid of even more junk. I am certainly not going to add to that pile of junk at this time by damaging my economic well being.

Having said that, we are left with the growth paradigm in the absence of anyone being able to make a persuasive case that a viable alternative is possible. The question remains. How do we construct a society where people can have a reasonable standard of living without trashing the planet via the consumption of mostly useless baubles?

We strive for growth because we are not aware of any other way forward. We grow because we have always grown. We grow because we refuse to make the necessary adjustments in income distribution. We grow so that a few crumbs will trickle to the middle and lower classes.

I do know this. The planet cannot sustain the present course. Grow baby grow. But prepare to suffer the consequences. Or at least be prepared to have your children suffer the consequences.

Just ignore them and maybe they'll go away - or bankrupt, which amounts to the same thing.


WASHINGTON — The American International Group, which has received more than $170 billion in taxpayer bailout money from the Treasury and Federal Reserve, plans to pay about $165 million in bonuses by Sunday to executives in the same business unit that brought the company to the brink of collapse last year.

And I suspect that we could all say "I told you so!"

Sounds reasonable-you need to reward the stellar talent.

In the newspaper today, or yesterdays news.

GM and Chrysler are offering buy-outs to employees.

Some as high as $75,000 cash and $25,000 voucher for buying a car.

Take the money and run.

The article talks about people saying they will go down with the ship but a buy-out they can't afford.

When did we get this way? How did we let ourselves get to the point that $75,000 was not a king's ransom.

I know my spending habits, when they are bad hand me a thousand bucks and proof it is gone. when they are good hand me the same thousand and I live off it for a few months.

But how many of you readers out there could survive on $75,000? And for how long?

For me I would hunt down some cheap land with a water source, (wet weather stream, Mud spring, or year around flow spring) and get at least 10 acres. And should be able to pay all my costs and current bills for at least 8 years, until I had set up out there on my land a nice shack in the woods. But I am single and childless.


But how many of you readers out there could survive on $75,000? And for how long?

At my current spending habits, a bit over 6 years. Once my loan jacks up again, probably about 4.

USA leading exporter of narcissism... ?

Warning Over Narcissistic Pupils

The growing expectation placed on schools and parents to boost pupils' self-esteem is breeding a generation of narcissists, an expert has warned.

Dr Carol Craig said an obsession with boosting children's self-esteem was encouraging a narcissistic generation who focussed on themselves and felt "entitled".

...the self-esteem agenda, imported from the United States, was "a big fashionable idea" that had gone too far... (schools) are not surrogate psychologists or mental health professionals.

"Narcissists make terrible relationship partners, parents and employees. It's not a positive characteristic. We are in danger of encouraging this," she said.


I wouldn't blame the schools-grifters like Gates, Trump or the latest hip hop artist are cultural icons-kids pick up on this early. Wall Street, competitive athletics-loaded with these. This is the American Way.

Yes, the american way is an illness, and it has infected our schools.

But judging by the article, the Brits are at least aware of the infection and might be able to limit the damage it does to their educational institutions.

Yes, the extreme emphasis on premier school sports (usually football and basketball) for the athletic elite few and the concurrent emphasis proms, socials, homecomings, and all the other side-show crap has made learning/education the defacto side-show. Just teach to the (ever multiplying) tests and run little Johnny and Janie through the diploma mill. The appalling lack of interest in math and science bodes very poorly for us.

When testing first came out as method to make sure everyone knew the things we were supposed to be teaching, I had a bad feeling about it. Now we know where all the testing has lead.

How many kids know how to think about problems they read about? How many kids today know where food comes from for real? How many kids today could spend a week without the internet, or TV?

We have painted ourselves into a corner. We are reaping the benifits of this already.


I think that this is the first of your posts that I can agree with.

John Holt, a prolific writer on education in general and home education in particular had a simple guide to testing: DON'T.

Sir Surely you jest, The first of all my posts, or the first today?

I Do post a lot about Gardening and such.

maybe I'll stay out of the debated threads more often.

Thanks for reading them, anyway.


If you might wonder where in the world the little darlings get such a notion, simply watch children's TV programs for a while. That will leave no doubt. What a bunch of unrealistic expectations. No where is work mentioned as the typical way toward advancement. It is all about how well you play an 'air guitar' or how cool you dress yourself leads to success and millions of dollars.

Geeze, the worst part is they may be right when I look at TPTB.

No where is work mentioned as the typical way toward advancement. It is all about how well you play an 'air guitar' or how cool you dress yourself leads to success and millions of dollars.

Well, there are minor exceptions. But again they are about practicing for the musical, or to be great at off-road motorcycle racing, etc. Very little about hard work building something -or patiently building a base of knowledge. But mostly you are right, talent which is often confused with cuteness, is not created by hard work -but something the kid has as a special birthright.


I didn't know what an 'air guitar' was until my grandson showed me. It is strumming the air and making a funky dance like modern guitar players do. It definitely NOT practicing for a musical.

Theatre, and other stage work where you have to practice your lines and skills is good for most children. Even if they might be dreaming of being a star one day.

What we might be worried about here is the vacant use of time.

I could in a way say that I spent all day in here typing on TOD and so I wasted the day doing nothing. I am not so sure I can just say this is constructive time use.

But there are things online that do seem to be Vapor-ware time wasters, that kids are involved in rather than going outside and having fun as a kid should.

Most of what we are so mad about is how these kids got to where they are when we see them. That falls squarely on the Shoulders of the parents.

Ages 0 to 6 and most of the traits anyone has will be set in pretty firm. Where do kids normally spend those years of life?

In someone else's hands, Day care, Day school, and by the time the parents get away from their jobs and gets time to spend with most of the kids today, the damage is done.

We are seeing the damage and blaming the kids for it, when we should be blaming their parents.


Tnx for the reply, Charles:

Yes, another day on TOD. I only come here while paint, stain, glue, or finish is drying and today it was too windy to get out and work with the soil. High Desert gardening is a witch.

I just finished restoring a stearing wheel for a 1917 firetruck for a bunch of Reno firemen who are rebuilding Reno #1. I put it in with my normal furniture work flow so it didn't take much time. When I gave it back to the fireman, he said "Wow, looks like fine furniture." ... "Yeah, that's what I do."

The history is here and the last couple pictures are about the steering wheel.


Of course I use hand tools daily but I have been practicing with hand tool only building on jobs normally done with machines like sawing a straight line, sawing a curved line, drilling holes, planning a flat board, etc. So far I haven't sold any of my hand work because it isn't up to my normal standards but if it goes really bad from here (SHTF), I will have the ability to make things by hand ... a world made by hand? I think not.

About the kids. Obviously a parental responsibility however I must add TV advertisers and show producers must have some responsibility for the stuff that is on TV. There are a few that I have seen my grandson attract towards that are worthy of his time spent but most are real garbage that teach all the wrong lessons. But then again, I am against adult organized sports where many (most IMO) coaches and parents are teaching kids how not to act.

I noticed the 20 years in the Air Force(US), my dad was in 22 years, mostly Air Force, but some Army.

I always was given hands on skills working with my dad when he was able to be around. I had a stay at home mom. I grew up during my 0-6 time frame in half a dozen states and in West Germany. So with that background I do know where some of my actions got their start.

Mentioning hand tools, My dad has more of them than most people have. And his skill sets are very diverse, If it breaks around here he can fix it, and most of it I know how to fix.

What kind of Gliders do you fly, we could continue this via E.mail if you like, ceojr1963 over on yahoo.

Skills are going to be the things more of us needs, useful ones at least.



Take a look at the article at this link regarding over-population:


Although I agree that per-person resource consumption is a major factor to be dealt with, I hugely disagree with the author's premise that humanity's projected population profile is nothing to be concerned about and a woman-oppressing red herring.

Almost all of the readers' comments take the author to task. Reading the reader responses is very informative about what the Alternet readership thinks about the issue...in fact, there are some peak oil comments...I wonder if any are from TOD readers?

Here is the original article that the author tries (and fails, IMHO)to 'rebut'.


As I have said before in TOD, we are all doomed (humanity) as long as the majority of people don't understand the population problem. I read a woman's blog where she said that someone commented on her 'bunch' of children when she was going to a movie or whatnot. She has three children (no doubt more on the way...based on her and her husband's devout Mormonism. She wrote in her blog that 'I was not aware that three children were 'a bunch'.

This small vignette illustrates the problem: The vast majority of people in the World, ans even in the U.S., where many of us like to think we are the pinnacle of educated, modern, scientifically aware humanity, don't even understand the simple reality of population dynamics. People need to go to one of the many population calculators on the web and plug in the current population total. then plug in fertility rates of one, two, and three children per woman and behold the resultant growth chart. They would then see the enormous outcome/consequences between each woman, on average, having two children per lifetime and each woman having three children per lifetime (let alone having more than three). The further problem is that most people wouldn't care, since they are selfish and their time horizon extends to the limits of their lifetimes. Also, many people are cornucopians and many others have religious beliefs that teach the World will come to an end soon anyway, so party on like its 1999....see you in the afterlife with all your wives and children! Other people yet are overwhelmed by the truth and block it out for their mental health. Many people are simply ignorant of simple math. Of course, many people exhibit combinations of these issues, some concurrently, some at different times in their lives.

Moon, your top link did not lead directly to the article you were talking about. I had to google it from the rebuttal site. Here is a direct link to the article:

Stop the Tired Overpopulation Hysteria And here is the rebuttal:
Rebuttal to Chris Hedges: Stop the Tired Overpopulation Hysteria

Or perhaps that was not the two articles you meant to link but it was the only ones I could get from your top link.


Not only do we encourage this, but have a whole industry that thrives on reinforcing narcissists, from the "self help" and human potential movement, to the prosperity as a divine right religious movement.
As a former teacher, and speaking with teachers still in the profession, they state that this generation is the worst they have encountered, and are very worried about the future.
Many are questioning continuing in education.

Boondoggle Alert - the road to hell being paved by good tax dollars, good intentions, and a lot of ignorant "leaderz" looking for a quick, easy faux-green fix:

Seattle council poised to approve rooftop wind-energy generators

Hopefully, the Seattlites will become Informed before wasting too much time, energy and resources:

Stimulus may get small wind turbines spinning

"When you get down around a house, or in and amongst a lot of trees, or around buildings, the wind resource is seriously compromised," said Mick Sagrillo, founder of Sagrillo Power and Light, a renewable energy consultancy firm.

"All of the data that we've seen that's come out of any reporting or testing ... backs that up," said Sagrillo, a 29-year veteran of the field.

Stimmel, of the small-wind industry association, agrees.

"There are pockets of usable wind in cities," he says, "but they're very hard to find, and they're a lot more limited than you might think. It is most often not worth the time and expense."


(oh, and watch out for birds and bats - with urban wind turbines their death rates are sure to increase at least 0.0025% !!!)


this idea is stupid. Solar PV is a much better rooftop energy generation solution than micr-wind turbines. No noise, no wildlife impact, no noise, much less maintenance, much more reliable than the vagrancies of urban wind gusts.

People need to calm down and start thinking critically..take an engineering-minded approach.

Enough with the folks who are 'all thrust and no vector'.

Seattle is about as bad a place for solar PV (or any other type of solar, except MAYBE high tech solar water heating) as exists.

High latitude (north of Banana Belt Canada) and their famous constant drizzle.

Lots of hydro, and some micro & mini-hydro possibilities.


One thing I have been thinking about is the Mini-Hydro of using your Rain guttering with a small turbine to get spun by downspout flow.

We would be collecting the water somewhere above ground so as not to have to use pumps to get it moved around vey much.

But anywhere that water flows is going to have some potential.

Just a thought.


Nice try, but the inconvenient truth about hydro is that you need lots and lots and lots of water. Amazing amounts of water. Stupendous amounts of water. Incredible amounts of water.

If you get a meter of rain on a 100m2 roof, that's 100m3 of water. Running that through even a 5 meter drop would get you about 5 million joules or 1.4kWH - but in something on the order of a year's time. The average power would be on the order of 0.16 watts. I'd call that picopower - and the picoturbine would have to be impossibly cheap, or it could never pay for itself before it corroded away...

Thanks, I am not a Fluids Engineer. I will still save the water though.


WTF is this lying sack of $h@T talking about?

"White House says economy is sound despite 'mess'"


Is he in on the pump and dump?

I mean honestly what part of the over 70% consumption based economy is fundamentally sound?

What part of the huge FIRE economy is fundamentally sound?

To come out and make this claim is to condemn millions more Americans to financial ruin due to bad decisions like spending instead of saving, investing, getting deeper into debt. This is criminal BS.

How does this guy sleep at night?

Rod Dreher: When the repairman turns radical

My wife came outside with a check. Dave put it in his overalls pocket, picked up his toolbox and went to his next job. I thought about him all day long. Dave is just one ordinary working stiff, but he was onto something, and he was onto something big.

What happens when people like him become convinced that the system is set up to reward lobbyists, lawyers, rent-seekers, developers, corporate interests, special-pleaders and sundry freeloaders lining up to nuzzle the ever-expanding government teat – all at their expense? What happens when the repairman loses faith in the institutions of government, of commerce, of civil society? When the kind of man who makes up America's backbone concludes that nobody else seems to believe in the common good anymore, so why should he?

I fear we're going to find out before too much longer. And we're not going to like it.

He is selling the idea that China needs to hear, or at least the one his Money people are telling him that China needs to hear.

With China pressing the fact that they hope we are not doing anything to damage the "Value of Their Investments". With China and Russia sending Strong signals that they have more power than we have as a nation, via pushing at our boats in International waters, and Thinking of Planes in Cuba.

Obama, has to get through to the silly people of the USA that everything is okay, Trust us, we know what we are doing and your votes for us have not caused all this mess. He is like any Poli-tick that realizes they are in a burning house and all the people are outside roasting marshmellows instead of throwing water on the Fire.

Alan Should have run for President some of us said. I ran for President. But neither of us had the Big Money players working for us. Obama was bought into office, now he is trying to tell those people that bought him, that everything is going to be fine.

Look for the next few weeks to be a bit more rocky as people start hunting for their lighters and marshmellows for the bon-fire in washington.



Given that AIG HAD to give out the Bonuses, We are going to face this with every other company too. The Law of the land seems to state.."If they build a house of cards knowing that it will fall over, and we promise to pay them for it anyway, we have to pay them, even if we lose massive amounts of money on our promise."

Heads should roll most of these guys knew sooner or later the house of cards was going to have to fall.

Over 60 Billion dollars going poofy! I agree some of it was just part of the up tic in the money rolls. Make believe money, it was never money based on something real, but it was being counted on by someone. Only if you can sell the Value of your Item into real cash is it worth real cash. How is a better way to say all this money was just a pipe dream we all dreamed about and then when we all woke up the money was just some dust on our nose.

But then again I never trusted Money-Value that I could not hold in my hands.

We have a lot of this Hot-Air type of money floating around, and given that even though it is not really there, we are still going to have to pay someone for it, or so everyone says.

My fix to all this is to just Tell everyone, At noon on Tuesday all Debt is wiped clean. We are starting over.

yeah I know Chaos happens at about one milisecond after people to whom money is owed realize they have nothing. The shooting starts and in a few years the dieoff stops and we might be over it all.

Like That link to the guy who wrote "The Black Swan" book had him saying, everything fragile is going to break.

GM, AIG, Citibank, and even the FED are fragile and sooner or later they are going to break, better now than later.


Former Treasury Secretary under Bush, Paul O'Neill (I think that Bush basically fired him when O'Neill complained about the budget) had an interesting comment on CNN today. He said that if the government can't determine the value of the toxic mortgage "assets" that the banks hold, "Please don't use my money to buy them."

Like That link to the guy who wrote "The Black Swan" book had him saying, everything fragile is going to break.

And if you haven't seen it I strongly recommend it.

Taleb on Bloomberg tv last week

Taleb Says U.S. Banking System Is `Designed to Blow Up'

This is a fairly lengthy (16 minutes) and detailed interview and well worth watching.

Thanks. I would have never found it again.

I listened to him talk and wondered why he was not hired to run things long ago. Oh never mind, his ideas aren't those of the people making gobs of money out of this house of cards we call an Economy.

Interesting that he still thinks we have not fallen far enough yet, that some things still need to be broken.

I can almost hear him saying. Little Local banks, with local populations controling things is better than big Big BIG. But somewhere in there he knows he does not have the time to explain it all to the people talking to him, or who they are being watched by.


The Pinedale Anticline in Wyoming is one of the richest continental U.S. gasfields under development. One remaining resource estimate for the field exceeds 50 TCF. The reservoir rock is tight sandstone.

A view of the drilling pads from space:


Does extracting it at today's prices make sense?

Helicopter Ben was on 60 Minutes tonight


His first ever (TV) interview. At one point he admitted - with a slight "not exaclty" caveat - that the Fed was in fact printing mony.

While pretty much everyone knows that is happening I cannot think of any official who has actually said and that and given the circumstances of this being his first interview I'd say it's safe to say Bernanke has never publicly said it before.

Not overly impressed with the interview and cleary "designed" to evoke confidence which, I suppose, should be expected.


Hello TODers,

Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

Recession spurs millions of new gardeners

A recent survey conducted by the National Gardening Association confirms that vegetable gardening in the United States is on the rise.

Highlights from the survey include:

43 million U.S. households plan to grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries in 2009

11 percent of households already active in food gardening plan to increase both the amount and variety of vegetables they will grow in 2009; 10 percent also said they will spend more time gardening this year.

Officials with the organization say they expect 7 million more kitchen gardens in 2009, up 19 percent from 2008. This anticipated increase is nearly double the 10 percent growth in vegetable gardening activity from 2007 to 2008 as more people seek to grow their own food.

..Officials with the National Gardening Association say consumers spent $2.5 billion in 2008 to purchase seeds, plants, fertilizer, tools and other gardening supplies to grow their own food. According to NGA estimates, even a modest, well-maintained vegetable garden yields a $500 average return per garden when considering a typical gardener's investment and the retail price of produce.
I would imagine that used tools scooped up from foreclosure yard sales far exceeds new tool sales. A hoe, shovel, pitchfork, or wheelbarrow is a terrible thing to waste.

Too bad the article didn't give survey results on what percentage of these people are composting. I would guess its around 75%.

Still hoping for someone posting a photo of Yergin loading up his wheelbarrow at his local garden supply store.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

My Gawd. Hope!

Yep, it would be interesting to see how much faster houses with well-developed food gardens sell compared to houses with pools and unedible landscaping. Any real estate experts on TOD that can add statistical info?

Picture two houses side by side for sale; approx. same interior square footage, built approx. same time on similar lot acreage:

Garden House:

huge compost piles, greenhouse, lots of fruit or citrus trees, large veggie plot worked for years, chicken tractor or coop, enriched mulchy soil with lots of worms, tool shed with good collection inside, several cords of wood on-site. Rainwater catchment system, 2 or 3 pane glass, lots of insulation, solar hot water system, maybe PV too. High efficiency appliances and hi-tech wood stove inside. Small and short driveway to one car garage.

In this example: let's assume the homeowner unfortunately died in an auto accident, plane crash, or other event. Or just got old and incapacitated [off to a hospice], or died.

Yergin Party House:

Most of the land covered with concrete. Big circular driveway, 4 car garage, plus big boat and big RV shed. Big pool and spa outback [more concrete], lots of exterior, high wattage lighting burning nightly, decorative fountain and outside gas fireplace for oh so desired 'ambience'. Very few plants of any kind at all, most money spent on spraying lots of Roundup and bug exterminator soaking the outside areas plus spraying monthly inside. No money spent on improving the house's energy efficiency, but big screen tvs in nearly every room.

The owner is selling because his investments with Madoff went belly up.

Result: Garden house sells quickly to new owner, Party house quickly stripped by thieves.

Ding, Survey says.... how many people have to spend Credit card debt on Garden Tools?

Thrift stores don't usually carry garden tools. New ones cost a lot more than they used too.

I still have tools that I used as a teenager, in good working order, even the Wheel Barrow is the same.

More power to bringing back the old Victory Gardens of the past. 4 houses on this block have gardens in the back, or at least fruit trees. I have a bed of Jerusalem Artichokes that has been in the same place for over 20 years, I don't know when I put it in now exactly. 10 ft by 10 ft bed, Harvest and let the little ones grow to replace the crop, for over 20 years off of one purchase back then of tuber stock.


A claim for a better kind of ultracapacitor:
Atomic construction yields punchier power store

Now a prototype capacitor has been made that manages to store power as densely as a supercapacitor, but deliver it at speeds comparable with electrostatic capacitors.

The resulting capacitor can deliver energy at a speed typical of electrostatic capacitors, at a rate that would allow a single kilogram to deliver one megawatt of power

It can also store energy as densely as a supercapacitor, with 1 kg holding 2500 joules

Now for the not so great part. I calculate that at 50miles per hour, an object has 250Joules
per KG of kinetic energy. If you wanted to use these capacitors to be able to store/release
enough energy to brake-from or accelerate to 50mph, you would need 10% of the car mass to be

And you really, really, really don't want the dang thing to develop a flaw and short out, since electrostatic capacitors can deliver their charge at explosive speed.

Yup, just like you really really don't want that 15 gallon gas tank to explode when you are driving and have a impact, oh wait that's not that big a deal anymore, another problem solved with engineering.

Wrong. About 1,000 people die from vehicle fires each year.

The mortality rate in ultra-capacitor cars will be 1) several orders of magnitude higher 2) unacceptable because it will be a new risk and not an "accepted risk" and 3) without an easy engineering solution (we have been working on gas tank safety for 100+ years)

Safety is a show stopper for ultra-capacitors in passenger cars. Waste of time technology for that application.


Do you have data or are you just in a bad mood?

Beijing raises stakes with tit-for-tat deployment in South China Sea

Beijing has increased tension in a disputed part of the South China Sea by sending a patrol ship to protect fishing boats after the United States deployed a destroyer in the area. The American move was in response to alleged Chinese harassment of one of its surveillance vessels.

The Yuzheng 311, a converted naval rescue vessel, is the largest and most modern patrol ship in the Chinese Navy, the Beijing News said.
IMO, these armed ships are not likely to use firehoses on each other if a pissing contest erupts. Or have the sailors stripping down to 'moon' the opposing sailors. 0bama, other Prezs, and the Chinese leadership need to really start flogging their diplomats to reach a workable, legal solution before a military disaster occurs.

havent seen this one posted:

"U.S. LNG March Imports to Rise 35% on Weak Asia, Europe Demand"


just wondering how lng will be economical to produce,compress and import at < $ 4/mmbtu ?

eldood -- I don't know how accurate the numbers were but the generality was: compression = $1/mcf and transport = $0.50 to $1.00/mcf. Cetainly varies greatly from plant to plant. If these numbers are anywhere close to realistic then many plants might run at $4/mcf. Of course, this would also likely mean the investment is a bust given the high cost of building the facility in the first place. It would also require the NG producer/NOC to deliver the NG at nearly zero cost. There will certainly be some situations where the NG is stranded and will require such actions to generate even a very modest cash flow. But I've seen nothing to indicate what percentage of the LNG producers can tolerate such prices so I can’t offer a guess as to the impact on import volumes.